Sunday, July 17, 2016

Eating the Globe: Samoa

Awful. Just awful.

My friend Ali and I were looking forward to this place, which had ten 5-star reviews on Yelp. Promising, right?

As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in trouble. The lights were off and the restaurant looked like an unfinished residential kitchen. There were two tables for customers. One was un-useable because it was stacked with 25 pound sacks of flour. The other one was taken up by a big man playing with his phone. I assumed he was a friend of the owner's and just hanging out.

Up front, from left to right, there's a steam table, a postage scale, a cash register that didn't work, and a giant rice cooker. The steam table was half empty. Most of the items on the chalkboard menu were not available. Ali, being a vegetarian, took one glance at the options and told me he's going to the burrito shop next door.

I chose the pork ribs and the corned beef. The owner put it on the scale and charged me $4.00. It's 12:20pm, but the rice was not ready. I'd have to wait.

It was during this 25 minute wait for my rice that I realized the big man sitting at the table was a customer and had been waiting even longer than me. After he left, and after I got my rice, I sat down to try the food. The corned beef might have been the saltiest thing I have ever tasted in my life. And yet the cabbage was mysteriously bland. The ribs were all bone. The sauce was sweet and spicy, but couldn't make up for the overall awful experience. Just awful.

In retrospect, this was a great experience. Eating food from around the world doesn't just mean eating the food, it's absorbing the culture and observing the people. If this experience was representative of how Samoans work and conduct business, then I've definitely learned something valuable.

Next week, I'm going to try Fijian food! Better luck next time.

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa

Asia: Afghanistan, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Yemen

Europe: Bosnia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA

South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela

Oceania: Samoa, Tonga

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